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Rewriting History - The Silver Anniversary of College Football Playoffs

With a playoff in college football seeming inevitable, I wondered how history might be different if this format was in place in the past. Would each respective champion have been able to win two more games and prove they truly were that season's best? Would a program that consistently found itself among the best in the country have added a few more trophies to its collection? Would the little guys have capitalized on their first opportunities to play for Crystal?

I decided to look at the past 25 seasons (which conveniently begin in 1987) and pit the top four teams in the final AP poll (prior to the bowl games) in a final four using the current BCS bowl locations. Before I go into detail, I'll answer a couple of questions.

Why the AP Poll?

The AP has been turning out polls since 1936 while the USA Today poll didn't begin until 1991 when it took over for the UPI which began in 1950. I preferred the consistency of the AP.

Why these locations?

I kept the rotation of the BCS bowls: Sugar, Orange, Rose, and Fiesta. When the Sugar hosts the national championship, the Orange and Rose host the national semifinals. The following year the Orange will host the national championship and the Rose and Fiesta will host the national semifinals. Each site will host one National Championship Game and three National Semifinals every four years.

In addition to looking at the final four teams, I also added their overall records and their records versus the top 25. I also picked a national championship game and winner. A link to more stats for each team is provided. These links are Z and C protected (the links open in new windows).

1987

National Championship - The Sugar Bowl

(3) Florida State over (1) Oklahoma

The Orange Bowl The Rose Bowl
(1) Oklahoma (4) Syracuse (2) Miami (3) Florida State
11-0 11-0 Record 11-0 10-1
2-0 1-0 vs Top 25 5-0 1-1

Also in 1987...

John Elway is seen sobbing in the locker room after a losing his first Super Bowl. Elway later admitted the 39-20 loss to the Giants was extremely disappointing; however, it wasn't because he failed on the biggest stage. It was the loud chants for embryonic Tim Tebow to replace him that hurt Elway the most.

1988

National Championship - The Orange Bowl

(2) Miami over (1) Notre Dame

The Rose Bowl The Fiesta Bowl
(1) Notre Dame (4) Florida State (2) Miami (3) West Virginia
11-0 10-1 Record 10-1 11-0
3-0 2-1 vs Top 25 4-1 2-0

Also in 1988...

Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal in the 100m for steroid use. It was later given to the second place finisher, Carl Lewis. While Johnson steadfastly accuses Lewis of using steroids, Lewis has always denied this accusation. He also denies knowing he couldn't sing before the National Anthem Fiasco of 1993 that caused Michael Jordan to retire (the first time) from the NBA.

1989

National Championship - The Rose Bowl

(2) Miami over (4) Notre Dame

The Fiesta Bowl The Sugar Bowl
(1) Colorado (4) Notre Dame (2) Miami (3) Michigan
11-0 11-1 Record 10-1 10-1
3-0 5-1 vs Top 25 2-1 4-1

Also in 1989...

They tried to have a World Series but an earthquake broke out. Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, and the Oakland A's would go on to sweep the San Francisco Giants to win the 1989 World Series of American Baseball played in America (U.S. edition). With questions about the role of steroids in sports growing louder, MLB took swift action and gave Pete Rose a lifetime ban.

1990

National Championship - The Fiesta Bowl

(1) Colorado over (2) Georgia Tech

The Sugar Bowl The Orange Bowl
(1) Colorado (4) Miami (2) Georgia Tech (3) Texas
10-1-1 9-2 Record 10-0-1 10-1
4-1-1 1-2 vs Top 25 3-0 3-1

Also in 1990...

Former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Steve Spurrier returned to his alma mater to become the head coach at the University of Florida. He made two promises to Gator Nation: UF would make beating Tennessee and Georgia a priority and he would never win a game in Doak Campbell Stadium.

1991

National Championship - The Sugar Bowl

(1) Miami over (2) Washington

The Orange Bowl The Rose Bowl
(1) Miami (4) Michigan (2) Washington (3) Florida
11-0 10-1 Record 11-0 10-1
3-0 4-1 vs Top 25 2-0 5-1

Also in 1991...

The Soviet Union fell on December 25 which finally proved Santa Claus was not a Commie even though he wore red and oversaw a socialist regime at the North Pole. Santa did not respond to multiple interview requests from Jeremy Schaap.

1992

National Championship - The Orange Bowl

(2) Alabama over (1) Miami

The Rose Bowl The Fiesta Bowl
(1) Miami (4) Texas A&M (2) Alabama (3) Florida State
11-0 12-0 Record 12-0 10-1
4-0 1-0 vs Top 25 3-0 5-1

Also in 1992...

Dream. Team. The greatest team ever assembled won by an average of 138 points on its way to winning Olympic gold in basketball. While this was impressive, it was wholly overshadowed by Dan vs. Dave.

1993

National Championship - The Rose Bowl

(1) Florida State over (2) Nebraska

The Fiesta Bowl The Sugar Bowl
(1) Florida State (4) Notre Dame (2) Nebraska (3) West Virginia
11-1 10-1 Record 11-0 11-0
5-1 2-1 vs Top 25 2-0 3-0

Also in 1993...

Michael Jackson was accused of "getting to know" a teenage boy. This wasn’t the time for Janet Jackson to release a song titled "That’s The Way Love Goes" but who am I to judge?

1994

National Championship - The Fiesta Bowl

(1) Nebraska over (2) Penn State

The Sugar Bowl The Orange Bowl
(1) Nebraska (4) Colorado (2) Penn State (3) Miami
12-0 10-1 Record 11-0 10-1
4-0 5-1 vs Top 25 3-0 4-1

Also in 1994...

O.J. Simpson took police on the slowest highway chase in automotive history proving the path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. In somewhat related news, MLB players went on strike and the World Series was cancelled for the first time in 90 years. Baseball fans reacted with great vengeance and furious anger. In vaguely related news, Deion Sanders signed with the San Francisco 49ers. In a recently discovered letter, Steve Young and Jerry Rice told team owner Eddie DeBartolo, "Just when I thought you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!"

Oh yeah. Pulp Fiction and Dumb and Dumber were released.

1995

National Championship - The Sugar Bowl

(1) Nebraska over (2) Florida

The Orange Bowl The Rose Bowl
(1) Nebraska (4) Ohio State (2) Florida (3) Northwestern
11-0 11-1 Record 12-0 10-1
3-0 6-1 vs Top 25 5-0 4-0

Also in 1995...

Al Gore's hard work finally paid off when the Internet was commercialized. That is all.

1996

National Championship - The Orange Bowl

(3) Florida over (1) Florida State

The Rose Bowl The Fiesta Bowl
(1) Florida State (4) Ohio State (2) Arizona State (3) Florida
11-0 10-1 Record 11-0 11-1
5-0 3-1 vs Top 25 1-0 4-1

Also in 1996...

The first football game in the history of the Big 12 took place. Texas A&M and Missouri did not compete in it. Scholars maintain this led each school to initiate discussions about leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

1997

National Championship - The Rose Bowl

(2) Nebraska over (1) Michigan

The Fiesta Bowl The Sugar Bowl
(1) Michigan (4) Florida State (2) Nebraska (3) Tennessee
11-0 10-1 Record 12-0 11-1
6-0 4-1 vs Top 25 3-0 3-1

Also in 1997...

The first color photograph appeared on the front page of the New York Times. It captured Peyton Manning's stunning second place finish in the Heisman voting with a headline that read "We'd Rather Have His Brother".

1998

National Championship - The Fiesta Bowl

(2) Florida State over (1) Tennessee

The Sugar Bowl The Orange Bowl
(1) Tennessee (4) Kansas State (2) Florida State (3) Ohio State
12-0 11-1 Record 11-1 10-1
5-0 3-1 vs Top 25 5-0 4-0

Also in 1998...

The actions of two men would take the world by storm. Those actions would later become ridiculed.

Will Smith and his ego should be charged with sound-slaughter for Gettin Jiggy With It. Forget SUVs. Will Smith's music caused global warming (Summertime is okay though).

1999

National Championship - The Sugar Bowl

(1) Florida State over (2) Virginia Tech

The Orange Bowl The Rose Bowl
(1) Florida State (4) Wisconsin (2) Virginia Tech (3) Nebraska
11-0 9-2 Record 11-0 11-1
4-0 4-1 vs Top 25 4-0 3-1

Also in 1999...

President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives. Of the many consequences of this decision, the only one that was expected was the collapse of the knee pad industry for the 18-25 year old female demographic in the greater D.C area.

2000

National Championship - The Orange Bowl

(2) Miami over (1) Oklahoma

The Rose Bowl The Fiesta Bowl
(1) Oklahoma (4) Washington (2) Miami (3) Florida State
12-0 10-1 Record 10-1 11-1
5-0 2-1 vs Top 25 2-1 3-1

Also in 2000...

The Seattle Kingdome is demolished by implosion. Many feared the amount of explosive materials needed to bring down the building would be astronomical considering the implosion of Brian Bosworth's career didn't do the trick.

2001

National Championship - The Rose Bowl

(1) Miami over (2) Oregon

The Fiesta Bowl The Sugar Bowl
(1) Miami (4) Nebraska (2) Oregon (3) Colorado
11-0 11-1 Record 10-1 10-2
4-0 2-1 vs Top 25 3-0 5-1

Also in 2001...

9/11.

2002

National Championship - The Fiesta Bowl

(1) Miami over (2) Ohio State

The Sugar Bowl The Orange Bowl
(1) Miami (4) Georgia (2) Ohio State (3) Iowa
12-0 12-1 Record 13-0 11-1
4-0 4-0 vs Top 25 4-0 2-0

Also in 2002...

Near Earth Asteroid 2002 MN barely misses Earth. It was 75,000 miles from impact. That's really close. An impact would have destroyed all life on Earth. Legendary Mayan king K'inich Janaab' Pakal said, "tHAt s#!t WOnt mAkE iMPaCt. iT aiNt 2012 yO!" His statement was released through a medium.

2003

National Championship - The Sugar Bowl

(1) USC over (2) LSU

The Orange Bowl The Rose Bowl
(1) USC (4) Michigan (2) LSU (3) Oklahoma
11-1 10-2 Record 12-1 12-1
2-0 5-2 vs Top 25 4-0 3-1

Also in 2003...

350,00 year old footprints were found in Italy. An Outside The Lines piece would reveal these belonged to Verne Lundquist. Finally revealing the true identity of Mumm-Ra was Earth-shattering. I'm not making this up. Bob Ley and Tom Rinaldi reported it but you missed that episode. I didn't. You're welcome.

2004

National Championship - The Orange Bowl

(1) USC over (3) Auburn

The Rose Bowl The Fiesta Bowl
(1) USC (4) California (2) Oklahoma (3) Auburn
12-0 10-1 Record 12-0 12-0
2-0 1-1 vs Top 25 3-0 4-0

Also in 2004...

Fans of the Detroit Pistons and the entire Indiana Pacers organization brawled during a game in Detroit. It was obvious something bad was going to happen. The mood was tense. I have watched some serious, serious basketball games but nothing quite like that. Pistons head coach Larry Brown was disgusted by the scene because neither the fans nor the Pacers "brawled the right way". Ron Artest killed a guy with a trident. Allegedly. Jermaine O'Neal of the Pacers smashed a guy's face through a windshield, took his mother out for a nice seafood dinner, and never called her again.

2005

National Championship - The Rose Bowl

(2) Texas over (1) USC

The Fiesta Bowl The Sugar Bowl
(1) USC (4) Ohio State (2) Texas (3) Penn State
12-0 9-2 Record 12-0 10-1
5-0 4-2 vs Top 25 3-0 3-0

Also in 2005...

Katrina.

2006

National Championship - The Fiesta Bowl

(2) Florida over (4) LSU

The Sugar Bowl The Orange Bowl
(1) Ohio State (4) LSU (2) Florida (3) Michigan
12-0 10-2 Record 12-1 11-1
4-0 2-2 vs Top 25 3-1 1-1

Also in 2006...

Pluto ceases to be a planet causing everyone over the age of three to question what they once considered as fact. Is water really wet? Is the color orange really the true sign of evil? Was Superman Returns really that bad?

2007

National Championship - The Sugar Bowl

(2) LSU over (4) Georgia

The Orange Bowl The Rose Bowl
(1) Ohio State (4) Georgia (2) LSU (3) Oklahoma
11-1 10-2 Record 11-2 11-2
3-0 4-0 vs Top 25 6-1 3-0

Also in 2007...

Russian President Vladimir Putin is named Time Magazine's Person of the Year narrowly beating Chicago Bears QB Rex Grossman. Apparently Grossman giving Peyton Manning a Super Bowl trophy wasn't enough to take him over the top.

2008

National Championship - The Orange Bowl

(1) Florida over (2) Oklahoma

The Rose Bowl The Fiesta Bowl
(1) Florida (4) Alabama (2) Oklahoma (3) Texas
12-1 12-1 Record 12-1 11-1
5-0 3-1 vs Top 25 5-1 3-1

Also in 2008...

The New England Patriots failed to complete the perfect season by losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady was seen after the game looking at his wife. He didn't notice everyone else was too.

Meanewhile, the Miami Hurricanes announced to the world they were on their way back to the elite. Head football coach Randy Shannon signed an excellent recruiting class which was ranked number one by ESPN. This stellar recruiting class was 1-3 against Florida State.

2009

National Championship - The Rose Bowl

(1) Alabama over (2) Texas

The Fiesta Bowl The Sugar Bowl
(1) Alabama (4) Cincinnati (2) Texas (3) TCU
13-0 12-0 Record 13-0 12-0
5-0 2-0 vs Top 25 3-0 2-0

Also in 2009...

Astronomers discover the first known exoplanet on which water could exist, GJ1214b. James Cameron then announces this planet is really Pandora and Avatar is really a documentary.

2010

National Championship - The Fiesta Bowl

(1) Auburn over (3) TCU

The Sugar Bowl The Orange Bowl
(1) Auburn (4) Wisconsin (2) Oregon (3) TCU
13-0 11-1 Record 12-0 12-0
5-0 2-1 vs Top 25 3-0 2-0

Also in 2010...

Scientists suggest Neanderthals and humans may have interbred. The New Orleans Saints immediately put a bounty on all of these hybrid humans or Humanthals as they are known in certain social circles.

2011

National Championship - The Sugar Bowl

(2) Alabama over (1) LSU

The Orange Bowl The Rose Bowl
(1) LSU (4) Stanford (2) Alabama (3) Oklahoma State
13-0 11-1 Record 11-1 11-1
8-0 3-1 vs Top 25 3-1 4-0

Also in 2011...

Legendary Mayan king K'inich Janaab' Pakal is reported to have said, "dA eND iZ nEAr. iTs alMOsT 2012 yO!"

These were all true stories. Trust me. I'm a Seminole.

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